There’s an old saying: “Leap and the net shall appear.” But it often – in fact, usually – doesn’t.
Both the proposed combined middle school and the proposed new public safety complex are in the larval stages of development. We will be updating this page as time goes on, but as of this writing (September 27) there only exists for the new middle school a very rough, baseline, aspirational rendering (and slick sales video) for a site (Davisville Middle School) that may well not be suitable for construction (environmental research/studies are still ongoing but have, up to now, revealed several major issues.) And we don’t even KNOW (although you will actually hear it said QUITE OFTEN) that to build new is cheaper than to renovate. Based on what?
Absent detailed, precise architectural plans, how can firm costs of construction be accurately determined? Answer: They can’t. Nevertheless, we taxpayers are being asked to blindly approve bonds totaling more than $222 million: the combined megabond.
This was tacitly acknowledged by Town Council Member Matt McCoy at an open forum on the bonds held at North Kingstown High School on September 26. “I would like to make what I think is an important point. When we ask you, the citizens of this town, to go to the polls between the 18th of October and the 7th of November, we’re asking you to authorize the Town to be able to issue the bonds to borrow this money to fund these projects. We can debate the merits of whether the school should be here or there or this size or that size or where the fire station should be or all those other things and those are things that are gonna come out in the design process as we proceed. But all of it, from my perspective, is moot if you don’t authorize the Town to borrow the money.”
It’s called putting the cart before the horse. Blank checks and blind faith never make for good bedfellows … or for good results.
The elephant in the room is this: legitimate plans will not be in place (locations have not been secured, studies are still ongoing or have not yet begun, detailed architectural plans have not been drawn up, busing issues have not been addressed, etc.) when we go to the polls.
At the Town Council meeting on August 16, council member Kimberly Page said: “The school district will bring forward to us a plan that is carefully thought out.” Subsequently, during the same meeting, the town council voted to place the combined megabond on November’s ballot. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for “a carefully thought out” plan from the school district.
We hope you’ll plan to vote NO! to the bonds, and to the higher taxes that will come with them, and demand far more study, research and … ugh … PLANNING(!) before funds are borrowed.